I am a junior in high school, and I have never had a girlfriend. Is that bad, and when should I begin dating?

This is not bad at all. In fact, it has some great advantages. For example, let’s say you meet a girl whom you would love to marry, but marriage is still a decade away. What do you think would be more likely to last ten years: a high school relationship or a solid friendship? The friendship is more easily maintained, and

will serve as a foundation for any lasting love that does unfold. Besides, what is the point of committing to someone when you know you’re probably going to break up when you go to college in two years? What many people do not realize is that you don’t need to date in high school in order to get to know the opposite sex or to have a successful relationship in college.

Do not worry that love will elude you if you do not rush into romance now. Take this time to be free from distractions, and ask yourself what God wants of you during these years. With all of your vigor and life, unreservedly give your youth to him. Try to outdo him in generosity, and watch what happens.

There is wisdom in taking your time before beginning a committed relationship. For example, a study of over eight hundred high school students was conducted to determine how their dating age impacted their sexual behavior. Here’s what the study found: Among the teens who began dating in seventh grade, only 29 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls were still virgins. However, of those who waited until they were sixteen years old to date, 84 percent of boys and 82 percent of girls were still virgins.[1] This does not mean that if you started dating early you will inevitably be sexually active in high school. I started dating in the fifth grade, which I now realize was pointless, and I still saved my virginity for my bride.

Taking your time will not only safeguard your virginity; it will also give you a better foundation for future relationships. For example, some people spend their high school years running around trying to find a date, frantic because everyone else seems to have one. Others always need to be dating someone new. As soon as one relationship ends, they jump into another because they feel incomplete without a date. They practically develop ulcers searching for their worth and their identity in relationships. Still others spend all four years staring into the eyes of a boyfriend or girlfriend. Their relationship consumes them, and by the time high school is over they are not sure of their identity or dreams. The high school years are not meant for intense relationships that leave you feeling as if you would die without the other. This is a time to find out who you are, discover the world, and set the course for your life.

Everyone wants the love of another person, but there is a season for everything. Right now draw near to God so that you understand your worth in his eyes. Many people leap into relationships where their self-worth depends upon how the other treats them. Knowing what God thinks of you decreases your chances of falling into this trap.

So come to him, listen to his voice, and do whatever he tells you. As one woman said, ‘‘Inviting God to write the chapters of our love story involves work on our part—not just a scattered prayer here and there, not merely a feeble attempt to find some insight by flopping open the Bible every now and then. It is seeking him on a daily basis, putting him in first place at all times, discovering his heart.’’[2] He is the best guide when it comes to relationships, so stay close to him.

Lastly, your question presupposes that dating is the only option. It is not. Currently there is a resurgence of young people leaving behind the modern concept of dating in favor of courtship.

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[1]. B.C. Miller, et al., “Dating Age and Stage as Correlates of Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behavior,” Journal of Adolescent Research 1:3 (1986), 367.
[2]. Eric and Leslie Ludy, When God Writes Your Love Story (Sisters, Ore.: Loyal Publishing, 1999), 64.

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